The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Will this draft class live up to the hype?
While the Steelers have certainly had their lauded draft classes in the immediate afterglow of draft weekend, I cannot recall at least in my time following the team ever seeing a draft that has been met with nearly unanimous praise. One actually has to put effort into finding any assessment of their draft that isn’t effusive in its praise.
That isn’t necessarily a good thing. Actually, scratch that. It’s neither a good nor bad thing. The only thing that matters is what these players do over the next several years. What you or I or any talking head thinks minutes or hours or days after the draft picks are made has never been relevant.
And so the question of the day is this one: will this class live up to the hype? I think even Pro Football Focus recently put out an article suggesting that the Steelers might end up with seven starters from this class—from seven draft picks. I’m not sure if any draft class ever has had such a flawless hit rate before.
Broderick Jones might be the franchise left tackle for the nest 15 years. Joey Porter Jr. could be a Pro Bowler. Darnell Washington could give them the missing dynamic in their offense that makes them a top-10, even top-5 unit.
Or they could just be a random assortment of good to average to flat out bad. Draft classes are rarely as good or as bad as they’re seen as before they take the field, and the odds are this one will be no different. But there’s no reason not to feel good about it right now. After all, we’re not wrong yet.